We had the good fortune of connecting with Graham Calabria and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Graham, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Being that the F&B industry is one of the last few meritocracies standing in our current economy its nature is progression. You start in the BOH as a dishwasher and learn skills such as time management, organization, and cleanliness, every successive position afterwards compounds skills that were formerly taught. Therefore, opening my own business was the natural next step in my journey to creative freedom and financial independence. The freedom of ownership allows me choice of alliance and business partnership, I get to actively vote with my dollar for small farms over industrial agriculture and support local fisherman instead of a conglomerate located on the other side of the world. Ownership is the key that allows me to make my corner of the earth a better place for the future generations while sharing my love of food with the world.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
We are one of the few businesses located in Charleston, SC that sources as much food as possible within 100 miles of the city. That being said, the art is in the gathering. Cultivating a space for people to build memories that they will cherish for years to come isn’t easy and it takes a lot of work on the back end. Some of the ways we’ve overcome our more challenging hurdles has been through collaboration and partnership. Working closely with local businesses, seafood purveyors, farms, and other chefs allows us a step up and the ability to focus on our end goal; creating the best possible experience for the patron, staff, and guests. We offer a timeless and international language; food, adding our own modern twists on hospitality and honoring some traditions of the past is the reason why we entertain success. Food sourcing is another exemplary way that we set ourselves apart from the competition. Good ingredients don’t need additives or [lab-altered genetic] modification, a light touch and reverence for the work that has gone into its creation is all that is needed most of the time. Not to mention food sourced locally is much better for everyone’s health, from a carbon emission standpoint to the actual nutrient density.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Whenever friends come to visit us in the Charleston area I have several staples. We are a very active city and very dedicated to the outdoors, undoubtably the best way to commence the day would be on the water for a quick fishing trip with coffee and musubi from Dead Low Coffee Co. located on Folly Beach. After our fishing outing and having properly dispatched the fish utilizing the Ike Jime method, we set it aside for later (maybe an afternoon ceviche) and head back to land to catch a couple of waves if there are any. Lunch is a picnic in Hampton park, tacos from Torres Superette on Rutledge & barbecue from Palmira BBQ followed by a tour of the city from Charleston Pedicab. Afterwards we lightly marinate our fish from the morning and enjoy a crudo snack then head over to Lowcountry Oyster Co. to pick up some oysters for the evening, the afternoon is spent skateboarding at some of our local diy projects then we are off to Chubby Fish for a dinner with some of the cities most talented chefs. Following supper we have a night-cap at Delilah’s Cocktail Bar then head over to the Royal American for a punk rock show. To cap it off we return to a fire and chargrilled oysters.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The Greenheart Organization in Charleston, SC creates opportunities for students in local elementary schools all the way to high schools to participate in the cultivation and cooking processes of their food. Giving children the skills for success as they start their journeys by being able to feed themselves and also educating them about our current food-ways is of paramount importance to the future of this great nation.

Website: www.chefgrahamcalabria.com

Instagram: @chefgrahamcalabria

Image Credits
Michael Hrizuk

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